Sally Thomas - interview on radio

More media … Sally Thomas on 1310

Sally Thomas, an organizer for Ottawa Transit Riders spoke with Mark Sutcliffe of Ottawa Today on 1310 about problems with transit, especially ParaTransit. Click on the link to listen – her interview is near the end.

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Ottawa Transit Riders are now official

The Ottawa Transit Riders are now official

On Saturday, April 27th, we held a founding meeting, attended by over 100 people interested in making transit better.

The participants voted to approve the Governance Document (although the Board of Directors is allowed to make some modifications).

Twelve people stood for election for the first Board of Directors.

Participants were encouraged to mingle, talk with candidates and provide their opinions and suggestions concerning five questions posted:

1) How can we make transit more affordable?

2) How can we make transit more accessible?

3) How can we make transit more reliable?

4) How can we make transit more green?

5) What should the priorities of this organization be? 


Congratulations to everyone who participated.

The first Board of Directors:

Back row: Stuart Mackay, Leyla Shahid, Anne-Marie Roy, Sam Boswell, Henry Paikin.

Front row: John Woodhouse, Kari Glynes Elliott, John Redins, Dan Gajewski


Further details are coming.

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Advance documents and proxy voting

Documents for meeting – advance notice

The Ottawa Transit Riders are celebrating our official launch on Saturday, April 27th at 2:30 at Jean Pigott Place (City Hall).

At this meeting we are going to vote on a formal governance structure and for members of the Board of Directors.

For those who want a sneak peek or for those who are not able to attend in-person, here are some documents in advance:

Agenda (bilingual)

Governance document (bilingual)

One-pager on the Ottawa Transit Riders (bilingual)


What if you can’t attend?

We will allow proxy voting in the election for Board Members if people cannot attend in-person. If you want to ask someone else to vote for you, please provide them with a written note that clearly states your contact information and your permission.

For example, I, Marie Tremblay, give John Brown permission to vote for me in the Board election for Ottawa Transit Riders on April 27, 2019. (name, address, email, signature).

People who have permission to vote on behalf of someone else may cast only ONE proxy ballot.

Email us for further details:

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more media ... Interview on CFRA

More media … Kari on CFRA

Bill Carroll from CFRA spoke to Kari for her opinion on the news that OC Transpo has admitted to cancelling more than 6,000 buses in a 29-day period.



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Supporting the Ottawa Transit Riders

Supporting the Ottawa Transit Riders


It takes money to set up an advocacy group. Start-up costs include rental fees for venues, printing, websites, etc.

Once we’re up and running, we’ll fundraise, but for now we’re relying on donations from people who care about making Ottawa’s transit system better. If you’re able, please consider clicking on the ‘support Ottawa Transit Riders’ button above or you can write a cheque to the Ottawa Transit Riders. Email us for details:

It’s awkward to ask, but advocacy costs money.


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Climate Change Emergency

Declaration of a Climate Emergency

On April 16th, members of the Environment Commission approved a motion put forth by councillor Shawn Menard to declare a Climate Emergency.

The day started with a rally at City Hall organized by Ecology Ottawa. Several members of the planning committee of the Ottawa Transit Riders attended. There were rousing speeches and beautiful signs, then people filed into City Hall to watch the proceedings. Champlain room filled up quickly and spectators were diverted to watch in overflow rooms

Unfortunately, the motion regarding the declaration of a climate change emergency was last on a very full agenda so delegates were not able to speak to the motion until about 3PM – by that time, most supporters had gone home.

Kari and Sam spoke briefly – our presentation can be viewed here.

Several councillors, most notably Catherine McKinney and Riley Brockington, spoke movingly about listening to the passion of young people and wanting to build a better community.

Two councillors voted against the motion – one saying that he felt climate change was not an emergency since the ‘sky was not falling’.

The motion will go before City Council on April 24th.

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We're recruiting

We’re recruiting … are you interested?


Kari:       So we’re looking for people to sit on our Board of Directors.

Sam:      Yup – we have elections on April 27th.

Kari:       And one seat is reserved for someone who uses ParaTranspo.

Sam:      Of course! Accessibility is a BIG issue and we need to hear from people who have direct experience.

Kari:       How’s the recruitment going?

Sam:      Well, we’ve met some smart, capable people but everyone is worried about the commitment. You wouldn’t believe how many people have said they want to be involved, but maybe not on the board.

Kari:       But we’re both standing for election, right?

Sam:      Of course

Kari:       So we set the agenda. If we’re on the board, we’re going to watch our workload, respect everyone’s time and avoid burnout. One meeting a month, lots of delegation …

Sam:      We’re going to be busy this year, but we’re ALL volunteers and it’s important that we create a good environment. It’s not like we have a boss breathing down our necks saying that things have to be done by a deadline.

Kari:       I’ve worked at some terrible places, but I’ve also worked at some wonderful places with great bosses – I know what works to make a group function well. Let’s create a board that is warm and respectful and effective.

Sam:      So … people shouldn’t be scared off by the commitment?

Kari:       Nope. We’re going to create a Board that respects people’s time and effort.

If you are interested in running for the Board of Directors of Ottawa Transit Riders, send us an email for details. OR show up to the founding meeting and grab a nomination form.

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Not your imagination ... OC Transpo does cancel a lot of buses

To no-one’s surprise, data has just been released that indicates that 1) OC Transpo cancels a lot of buses, and 2) OC Transpo does not report such cancellations accurately.

Kudos to the Ottawa Citizen journalist who did some good research for the article: More than 6,000 OC Transpo bus trips cancelled in nearly one-month period

In order to approach City Hall and OC Transpo with proposals to fix this problem, we need to know why this is happening.

  1. Is OC Transpo short-staffed? Are they struggling to get people to drive their buses?
  2. When does OC Transpo know that a bus will be cancelled? If staff shortages are the problem, do they know in the morning or the week before that some days are going to be bad? If so, can they give the public a head’s up?
  3. Is there a problem with the buses? We’ve heard rumours that maintenance budgets have been slashed. Or are buses in poor shape, requiring more maintenance than expected?

As customer and taxpayers, we have a right to know what’s going on with our transit system. OC Transpo is supported by public money to provide a public service. When they fail to provide adequate service, there should be consequences.

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So ... what's the plan?

Riders know that transit service in Ottawa is declining

City councillors experienced the poor service for themselves during the Transit Challenge. Ottawa councillors share experiences as transit challenge comes to an end 

Even John Manconi, head of OC Transpo, admitted that reliability and accessibility are a problem. OC Transpo 'not a reliable system right now,' Manconi says

So … what’s next?


Surely the powers that be are not going to sit around nodding their heads at the tragedy of terrible service and then leave it at that, are they?

ARE they?

At the founding meeting (April 27th) we will be providing people with an opportunity to brainstorm solutions. Do you have suggestions? Opinions on what we should do next? Ideas for campaigns? Come and share your ideas!

Click on the ‘Upcoming activities’ button to RSVP.

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FREE Webinar

How to Advocate for Local Transit in Your Community

Interested in how to generate momentum to improve transit in Ottawa?

Christof Spieler, an American transit advocate who is the author of "Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas", has organized a free webinar involving a panel of transit advocates who will discuss how to advocate for better transit in your local region.

Just click here to register.


Wed, Apr 24, 2019 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM EDT


Here’s the blurb from the website:

Advocating for better transportation in your city can feel like a losing battle. How do you get to a planning meeting? Who do you direct your concerns to? What changes can you even effect? Christof Spieler, author of "Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas", has been in your shoes. Christof, PE, LEED AP, is now the Vice President and Director of Planning at Huitt-Zollars and a Senior Lecturer at Rice University. Earlier in his life, he was doing citizen advocacy to change his local metro system in Houston.

Christof has brought together a panel of local transit advocacy leaders that are doing effective, on the ground work in their neighborhoods. They are using data and best practices to measure their outputs and they're looking to share the secrets of their successes with you.


Panelists include:

- Fred Neal Jr., Commissioner of the Regional Transit Authority of New Orleans and Sr. Planner at Villavaso & Associates, LLC

- Laura Wiens, Director of Pittsburghers for Public Transit

- Christof Spieler, PE, LEED AP, is now the Vice President & Director of Planning at Huitt-Zollars + Senior Lecturer at Rice University


Conversation moderated by David Bragdon, Executive Director of TransitCenter.

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